Chase County senior Taylin McNair led the Lady Longhorns in scoring this season, helping her team to a 17-8 finish, one of the best in decades. (Johnson Publications file photo)
Lady Longhorns’ success based on senior leadership
While they missed a trip to the state tournament by a single game, the Lady Longhorn basketball team had one of its best seasons in years, and one of the best records in decades.
Coach Mark Bottom said the 17 wins Chase County compiled in their 17-8 season are the most since at least 1989.
Before that, the 14 wins Chase County compiled in 2014-15 held that honor.
Bottom credits this year’s successes to a great group of nine seniors, who were part of the recent winning season teams as both sophomores and seniors.
That leadership and a lot of depth helped the girls advance to the district title game for the first time in 17 years. While they lost that game to Mitchell, the last time Chase County was in a position for a state tourney berth was in 2000.
Bottom believes their improved defense and better rebounding were keys to this season’s success.
Depth was also important.
Being able to play nine and 10 girls regularly was an added bonus, he said, and directly contributed to their wins over state-ranked Wray and Haxtun, Colo.
“Our depth was a big plus, and our girls accepted their roles,” he said.
The team will have big shoes to fill for the nine seniors who will graduate this year.
One of those seniors, Taylin McNair, led the 2016-17 team in scoring.
Tallying 270 points, she had an overall field goal shooting mark of 41 percent. From two-point range, she was 45 percent accurate, was 32 percent on threes and was a 60 percent free throw shooter.
Rounding out the top five scorers were freshman Mallie McNair 180 points, senior Destiny Reinke 172, sophomore Allison Owings 120 and Ragan Nickless 89, a junior.
Bottom said Taylin McNair played very determined basketball down the stretch, and second leading scorer Mallie McNair handled her starting role after the first of the year well for a freshman.
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